US Women’s hockey team weep

Posted on February 21, 2014
Filed Under Commentary, Sports | Leave a Comment

With four minutes left to play in the gold medal game at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the U.S. women’s team had a two to zero lead over Canada. Canada fought back, tied the game with seconds to go, and won it in overtime. As with all such games a different bounce in any of dozens of situations would have made the difference. One of Canada’s goals bounced in off an American. In the last minute, with Canada’s goaltender pulled, a rink-long U.S. shot hit the post of an empty Canadian net.

The Canadians were ecstatic at the miracle. The Americans were crushed as what seemed the high point of their lives suddenly evaporated. Many of them curled over in nausea. Many of them, in shock, were scarcely able to stand. Most of them wept. They were still weeping and struggling to keep it together during the lengthy medal ceremony.

Some amateur commentators have suggested the women weeping is a sign of weakness or, worse still, poor sportsmanship. May I humbly suggest both allegations are ridiculous.

If the best your country has ever done is fourth or bronze, silver is a victory. We see many athletes thrilled to win bronze.

It is different when you have defeated your gold medal opponent most of the time over the past couple of years. You have dedicated unbelievable time, effort, expense on your own part and your family’s since grade three. You have surpassed thousands of your contemporaries to make the national team, and formed a blood bond sisterhood with your team mates on a once-in-four-years quest. You have no Stanley Cup. You have your ultimate goal firmly in your grasp and the earth suddenly collapses beneath your feet.

How would you expect fiercely competitive women to react?

You can call them losers? You can call them poor sports?

I think only a loser could call them either of those.

I defy you to find a competitor in hockey or the entire Olympics who would.

In order to have a great victory, you have to have a great opponent. Canada’s gold has much extra lustre because the U.S. women scared us Canadian fans half to death.

I am not the least embarrassed to say my eyes moistened up seeing the US women’s pain at the end of the game and the interminable medal presentations ceremony.  At a time when they wanted and needed to curl up and hide their pain, they had to stand in front of the world and be dignified as they received their silver medals.

Mary Barra is the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors. As a champion who has smashed through the glass ceiling through which women peered for years, she has attracted a lot of attention focussed on her gender as much or more than her talent.

I read an account of an interview in which she was asked about being a woman managing men and women and women’s emotions that erupt in tears.

“Women weep,” she said with a shrug. “Men pound on tables and throw chairs.”

In my own little corner of the business world, I regularly saw both.

Yes, they are different. Is one superior? I don’t think so.

And in conclusion, Way to go Canada!!!

On we go! DAC

 

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